Truckee, Calif. (May 4, 2017) – The Truckee Ranger District, part of the Tahoe National Forest, will conduct prescribed fires this spring to reduce build-up of hazardous fuels and continue ecological restoration. Planned projects include low-to-moderate intensity understory burns of forest litter and vegetation on the forest floor.
The goals of these projects are to reduce the severity of potential future wildfires and provide added protection for communities in the wildland urban interface. In addition, prescribed fire will help to promote a diverse and more resilient forest and improve habitat for wildlife. The Forest Service is also working to reduce fuels by thinning dense stands of trees and brush using mechanical thinning, mastication, and hand removal of vegetation throughout the Forest.
Cooler temperatures and ground fuels that are just becoming dry enough to carry low-intensity fire make spring an ideal time to conduct prescribed burning. All prescribed fire projects are conducted in accordance with an approved prescribed fire burn plan. Burn plans describe the specific conditions under which burns will be conducted, including the weather, number of personnel, and opportunities to minimize smoke impacts.
This spring we plan to implement 300 acres of understory burning approximately one mile south of Stampede Reservoir near Russel Valley.
Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after lighting. Smoke settles in low lying areas at night and into the morning and usually lifts out during normal daytime warming. All prescribed fires are monitored closely for burning and smoke dispersal conditions and, if necessary, action is taken to mitigate concerns as they arise. Forest Service fuels management personnel work closely with the California Air Resources Board and the local air quality management districts to minimize smoke impacts to communities. Crews also conduct small test burns before igniting a larger area to verify how effectively fuels will be consumed and how smoke will travel.
“We are sensitive to the impact smoke has on people, especially those with respiratory conditions and allergies and we make every effort to conduct prescribed fire operations during weather patterns that carry smoke away from communities,” said Linda Ferguson, District Fuels Management Officer. “Large summer wildfires are a reminder of the importance of fuels reduction and that smoke produced during a prescribed fire is much less intense and of shorter duration than that of a wildfire. A moderate amount of smoke now could prevent a lot of smoke later.”
If you would like to learn more about prescribed fire versus wildfire, please visit www.smokeybear.com/prescribed-fires.asp.